You probably think you know what it means to be good on the phone. It looks like your team hustles inbound and outbound calls and it sure seems like they’re being productive. You’ve got customers walking through your doors and cars leaving the lots. All is well, right?
What you don’t know can hurt you though. And what you don’t know is that you’re likely missing out on profits through critical hidden phone metrics. These hidden metrics matter to your bottom line and store performance.
Owning the phone means much more than just maintaining the status quo. The nation’s top dealerships are buckling down and attacking the phone metrics that truly matter. Improving these areas will result in significant gains to your dealership’s performance.
Connected calls (or lack thereof)
It used to be that dealership’s could sleep easily because the receptionist was always busy. As long as he or she was on the phone, transferring calls and talking to customers, surely shoppers would be getting the information they need to make a purchase. Rightfully so, there is a heavy focus on making sure the receptionist picks up every single call.
But what you may not know is that sales calls are often bounced around left and right, left sitting on hold, or stranded because the receptionist transferred to an empty desk. Customers could say “forget it” and your profits would go to another dealer.
The metric that matters most is how many calls are actually connected to someone who can help, not just how many calls a receptionist picks up! Car shoppers want to be helped now and those who receive that immediate help needed to accomplish shopping goals are happier and more willing to do business with you.
That means the task continues after the customer reaches your receptionist. Train both your receptionist and sales team on the importance of true connection rates. Ensure that someone is scheduled to answer the phones every moment of every day. The truth is that 52% of callers won’t call back if their first attempt to reach you went unanswered. You can’t risk losing more than half of your potential customer base.
Total calls vs. true sales calls
The use of phone call tracking brought a new level of visibility into advertising. It’s easy to simply look at each campaign and process the total number of phone calls driven. “Great,” you think, “my email campaign brought me 10 phone calls today. That’s definitely one to keep around.” The real metric that matters, however, isn’t just total calls but the quality of phone calls. Do you actually know the nature of those calls? Were they service calls? Or maybe wrong numbers, general questions, repeat calls or calls from unqualified leads? Would you consider it a success if only three of those 10 calls were sales opportunities?
In the past, you’d take your 10 phone calls and judge your success that way. That’s the old days. Now you can get a true gauge on the total number of quality sales calls and hold your vendors and marketing more accountable. Knowing exactly how many qualified sales opportunities your marketing brings is the true way to measure your success.
Getting that confirmation for an appointment is a wonderful feeling. Your agents have worked hard getting the caller’s information and enticing them to take a look around the lot and want to hear “yes.”
Unfortunately, sometimes “yes” can mean “no.” Sometimes customers agree to an appointment without any intention of actually going to the dealership. These customers are just trying to get your sales team off the phone, while your team is none the wiser. “I booked the appointment, he should be here sometime tomorrow!”
“Sometime tomorrow” is the polite way of saying “probably not…” These confirmations look like victories to some but aren’t doing anything to help your bottom line. In fact, this hidden metric is causing a big leak. You’re spending a lot of money to drive hot sales leads that aren’t getting confirmed with an appointment. That means lost advertising dollars and prospects shopping elsewhere.
Every time you request an appointment, offer two dates and two times so the customer has options. This will make them feel like they’ve already agreed to an appointment, and more likely to confirm a time. “We have an appointment available Thursday and Friday. OK, Thursday? Would you like morning or afternoon? We have appointments at 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.”
Outbound live conversation
A lot of dealerships try to use some sort of outbound tracking ticker. It simply tells them how many calls each sales agent made each day. Sounds pretty good, right? But what if the salesperson is just making 25 calls before 9 a.m. and then has his feet on the desk the rest of the day? Or what if “I made my 50 calls today!” actually meant “I called the grocery store pharmacy 50 times today….”
The reality is that only around 12% of outbound calls actually include a live conversation. This is a big time profit opportunity and hidden phone metric. Make sure your sales team focuses on having live conversations when making outbound calls. The live conversation is the metric that matters when it comes to turning outbound calls into appointments and shows. The phone is the lifeblood of your dealership’s sales success and by properly managing the right metrics, you can truly Own the Phone.